Cleric three villagers arrested in Bangladesh on stoning woman

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DHAKA: A cleric and three village elders were arrested in Bangladesh on charges they ordered a woman to be caned and stoned after she was accus­ed of an extra-marital affair, police said on Monday.

Police said Hamida Su­tana was “caned 82 strokes” and “stoned 80 times” with small brick pieces after an imam issued a fatwa punishing her last week.

Sultana said she was “a victim of terrible injustice”.

“I can’t express in language what they did to me,” the 30-year-old said.

Bangladesh has a secular legal system and applying Sharia in criminal cases is illegal.

The fatwa triggered an outcry, with feminist gro­ups and rights activists stag­ing protests to demand the perpetrators’ prosecution.

“They acted like mediaeval people,” Fauzia Moslem, the president of the country’s largest woman’s group, said.

Police inspector Zakir Hossain said officers arrested four people, including the imam of the mosque in Habiganj, in the northeast, after Sultana filed a criminal case on April 7 against 17 people.

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